The Gifts of LIFE
by Larry W. Timm
I heard a story a few years ago about when Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went camping. After a good meal, they pitched their tent and went to bed.
Hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”
Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”
“And what does that tell you?” Holmes asked.
Watson pondered for a minute. “Astronomically, it tells me there are millions of stars, numerous galaxies and perhaps even thousands of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Theologically, I am reminded that God is the omnipotent Creator and we are small in comparison to Him. Meteorologically, I suspect we will have a beautiful day later.” Watson looked at Holmes, then added, “What does looking up at the sky tell you?”
Holmes huffed. “Watson, you meathead! It tells me someone has stolen our tent!”
Have you ever noticed that sometimes the hardest things to recognize are right in front of our faces? And if we can’t recognize them, how can we appreciate them? Sometimes we don’t see the many gifts that God sprinkles into our daily lives because we are preoccupied with other things. Other times we don’t see the gifts of God because, sadly, we’re not even looking for them.
Joy is unleashed in our souls when we intentionally decide that the business of life will not be allowed to blind us to the blessings of life. The very essence of worship is the willingness and ability to give honor and thanks to God for the gifts He gives us. The core of our faith is centered on the fact that God grants us the sacred gift of Life, and does it in daily doses that are overflowing with countless other gifts. These “other” gifts include things like forgiveness, grace, love, family, friends, laughter, a striking sunset, food, shelter, a church, the Bible, etc.
But we must develop the discipline of looking for God’s gifts in our lives, and then thanking Him for them. There is much more to life than mere existence, and the “more” can be found in a heart that is prepared to see God’s fingerprints in all areas of life.
When I was a little lad, I hated peas. My parents thought I should learn to love them. When I didn’t adopt that mindset, and the peas remained on my plate after everything else had been eaten, one of my parents would inevitably say, “You should be thankful for those peas. There are hungry children all around the world who would be very happy to have them.”
So, I volunteered to pay the postage necessary to ship the disgusting veggie to those less fortunate than I.
Was my benevolent proposition ever met with sparkling appreciation? Nope, nary a gleam of parental pride followed my generous offer. And never once did they provide the requested address to which the peas could be forwarded.
Now I’m a parent myself. And since there are impressionable children in the house, and I want to help them develop hearts of gratitude for all that God provides us, I try to set a good example (although I still find peas nothing but squishy green balls of yuckiness that should be kicked out of the food pyramid).
Attitude affects gratitude. And gratitude is a commitment, not an emotion. It should be standard equipment in the heart of every believer because it is based on the unchangeable fact that God has given us the sacred and precious gift of life. And because we are created in His image, we possess an inherent dignity and value that is not diminished by our health, wealth or social status. Every life is a valued gift from God.
My lovely wife lives this truth out in our home. For as long as I can remember, each day my incredible wife has been greeting our daughter and son with the words, “Good morning, my precious gifts from God.” Their lives are precious treasures to us. And we are grateful for every day we get to spend with them. They know that we value them above earthly treasures or temporary pleasures.
A year and a half ago, our conviction that life is a priceless gift was deepened when we stood in a hospital hallway outside our daughter’s room and, through tear-filled eyes, gazed at the x-ray on the backlit screen. The doctor pointed at the milky mass behind our daughter’s sternum. The x-rays indicated it was a large tumor. Later a biopsy would confirm that our precious gift from God had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
She is doing well now, but through the process of chemo and radiation treatments, we wrestled with the awareness that the gift of life is not only God’s most precious gift, it is also the most fragile. And that has helped us to purposefully seek to live life alert, aware and thankful for the gifts God supplies each day.
The lesson we’ve learned—and what I hope you will learn with us—is this: In order to get more from life and live life to its fullest, we have to live it one day at a time, with our eyes and hearts wide open, ready to recognize the gifts and to praise the Giver. Will you join us?
Larry W. Timm is a husband, father, preacher and writer. You can learn more about his debut suspense novel, Murder for Emily’s Sake, by going to his website at www.booksbylarrywtimm.com
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